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Survival of swine coronaviruses in feed

Quick facts

  • There are three known coronaviruses that have devastating impacts on the swine industry.
  • The viruses can be spread through equipment, people, other objects and feed.
  • Contaminated soybean meal has the greatest potential risk for transmitting swine coronaviruses.
  • University of Minnesota research shows promising ways to reduce virus survival and risk in soybean meal.

Contaminated soybean meal has the greatest potential risk for transmitting swine coronaviruses.

Developing and using biosecurity programs at feed mills can reduce the risk of coronavirus in feed and feed ingredients. Talk to your feed supplier about the risk and potential ways to lessen or control virus transmission through feed delivered to your farm. This is especially important if you obtain ingredients and feed from places where coronaviruses are more common.

University of Minnesota research shows potential benefits of heat processing, radiation exposure (irradiation), and organic acids to reduce virus survival and risk when applied to soybean meal.

Delta values represent the length of time necessary to reduce the amount of virus by 90 percent. Porcine delta coronavirus (PDCoV) generally has a greater delta value than other coronaviruses for several feed ingredients. Thus, control methods for PDCoV should also reduce the survival of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV).

Swine coronaviruses 

The three known porcine coronaviruses include:

  • Transmissible gastroenteritis virus (TGEV)
  • Porcine delta coronavirus (PDCoV)
  • Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV)

These coronaviruses have devastating effects on the pork industry and cause

  • Severe diarrhea in young pigs
  • Increased mortality
  • Subsequent reductions in growth performance
  • Increased cost to producers

These viruses pass via feces and can be spread by contaminated equipment, people, and other objects. After the 2013 outbreaks of PEDV in the United States, proof suggested contaminated feed and feed ingredients can also spread PEDV.

University of Minnesota research shows that additives that make feed acidic can reduce virus survival and risk. These additives inactivate PEDV and PDCoV in complete feed.

Another University of Minnesota study shows the survival rate of PEDV and PDCoV in complete feed and feed ingredients. To better understand virus transmission through feed, University of Minnesota researchers measured the survival times of PEDV, PDCoV and TGEV in feed.

Testing corona virus survival in feed and feed ingredients 

delta values for swine feed.

University of Minnesota researchers took samples of common feed ingredients and a Phase 2 nursery diet. These samples tested negative for all coronaviruses. In the laboratory, researchers contaminated each sample with PEDV, PDCoV, or TGEV. The samples were mixed and stored at room temperature for 56 days.

Throughout this time period, viruses from each sample were put into cells and observed for viral infection. With this information researchers used a predictive model to produce delta values. Delta values represent the length of time needed to reduce the amount of virus by 90 percent. Researchers then used these values to compare survival of corona viruses in the feed and feed ingredients.   

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Michaela Trudeau, graduate student, College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences; Harsha Verma, Pedro Urriola, Research assistant professor, College of Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resource Sciences;  Fernando Sampedro, associate professor, College of Veterinary Medicine; Gerald Shurson, Extension animal scientist and Sagar Goyal, professor, College of Veterinary Medicine

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